Teambuilding is the most important investment you’ll make

If you are starting to notice droopy shoulders around the office, the question is how do you create an experience that your team won’t hate?

The most successful and memorable team-building events are the ones that are a complete contrast from a day at the office. That’s why becoming a farmer for a day (and eating like a king) at Hexhamshire Organics was the perfect organic bonding experience for us.

After rising with the dawn chorus, the team of intrepid explorers ‘Team BHE’ donned their wellies and travelled to Hexham, to Hexhamshire Organics. We were to spend an exclusive day with Bob, Ann, the ducks, the chicks and the Tamworth pigs!

Upon arrival we were greeted with a hearty farmhouse breakfast including organic, homegrown Tamworth bacon and sausages. It’s no wonder the Tamworth pork is sought after by the top chefs in the region. Cue a quick health and safety briefing and the story of the farm from Bob and we were stomping around the farm, taking in the sights.

Starting at the seven poly tunnels, housing an array of organically grown fruit and veg we were able to learn more about the procedure from seed to harvest, and the special organic methods to keep the pests at bay. Sampling fresh produce along the way, our particular favourites were the mustardy ‘Red Frill’ and lemony ‘French Sorrel’, which also magically appeared at the lunch table.

Ann had prepared a beautiful spread for lunch, a Tamworth gammon joint, herby roasted potatoes, some beautiful side salads, beetroot, roasted peppers, and the star of the show was a garden frittata made from the farm’s own hen eggs and freshly picked summer vegetables.

After one, two or three plates of lunch we were fueled up ready to herd the pigs! We had to work together to get the Tamworth’s from the field into the enclosure. After a few laps of the field, and a fair few trips into the undergrowth for one shy pig, we finally got the last pigs into the enclosure. Our communication skills, patience and determination were put to the test, and we have the photo evidence to prove it. The Tamworths are very intelligent creatures but alas not hugely compliant.

Next up we split into teams to take our pig to ‘show’. Bringing our chosen pig into the enclosure, we made sure she was content with a little snack and got to work on the full salon experience, washing every inch of the Tamworth, enquiring where she was planning on going on holiday, and then drying the fine specimens. It was now time to parade the pigs in their glistening finery show coats. Katie in her pristine white show coat and ‘Penelope’ pig were clear winners. It was great to have hands-on involvement in caring for the Tamworths, it certainly was a change of scenery from fielding delegate calls in the office.

After that physical exhaustion, we were treated to more of Ann’s delicious cooking, with a beautiful pavlova and chilled glass of rose. Although the work was not yet done! It was time to take a ride round the scenic orchard on the tractor to keep the grass trim. A fine method of transport, but back onto foot to round up the ducks and get the chickens to bed so we could collect their fresh eggs.

We ended the experience crowning the person who was most welcome to join Bob and Ann and work on the farm – well done Katie, and the person who should really stay in the city – commiserations Sarah! The experience comes highly recommended for teams wanting a day away from the office filled with fun, nature and learning.

What did we learn after a refreshing day in Hexhamshire?

Life truly is better at the farm.

Five Years, Five Defining Events…

  1. And so the adventure began when we delivered our first event with BeaconHouse Boss caps on… The 2014 Family Law Bar Association National Conference and celebratory dinner in the iconic Sage Gateshead. After glowing client feedback, the first step on this orange-hued journey began.
  2. Entertaining 24,000 Great North Run enthusiasts and serving over 1 tonne of carb-a-licious pasta all on a car park between Sage Gateshead and Baltic, seems impossible but we’ve done it every year since our inception! With the likes of Mo Farrah and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall in attendance, it’s the hottest place for runners (and those exhausted from watching the runners) to grab a bowl of nourishment the day before the big run.
  3. A real highlight in 2018 was our first collaboration with Wayne Hemingway MBE and HemingwayDesign, working to deliver the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit as part of the Great Exhibition of the North. With sessions from Mark Carney, Bank of England, and innovative customer UX design, the event welcomed 1,000 delegates from across the North East. There was an incident with an errant pigeon, but as cool, calm collected swans we made sure not a drop of faeces made it onto the esteemed shoulders of our speakers.
  4. We produced an award-winning award ceremony. Yes, you read that right, the Dynamites 18 event won Bronze at the Awards Awards earlier this month. Championing the IT community in the North East has always been important to us, working with Dynamo, but to be recognised nationally for an event that is a pleasure to organise, its winners all round, literally.
  5. The promotion of sustainability a key goal for us. We are thrilled to now work with The Planet Mark, producing their events across London. We are not naive about the effect of events on the environment, so learning from the team at The Planet Mark, we are able to take steps across our portfolio to minimise the negative impact and promote a sustainable vision for the years to come.

Here at BHE HQ we are looking forward to another five years of highlights, thanks to all our clients and supporters, we couldn’t have done it without you.


5 Reasons you should NOT host an event

You want to keep people apart

Events bring people together for a common purpose. Choosing to host an event will see you running the high risk of facilitating lasting relationships through networking. You and your team will be forced to build partnerships, meet prospects, and sell more products or services.

Inviting clients and prospects to an event they would genuinely be interested in; means they’ll be lured in by your non ‘salesy’ approach and unfortunately likely to accept your offerings. You’ll lumber yourself with a lot more work.

You’ll have to spend money and time

Champagne reception for your nearest and dearest clients, makes Joan in Accounts shudder. When you have an important message to communicate to a large audience of clients, employees or stakeholders, a simple email that they may, or more likely not read will probably suffice. Perhaps send it with the high importance exclamation mark, that might extend the attention span from the average eight seconds.

It will put your brand centre stage

Events command attention. If you’d rather your business was far from the limelight, it is essential to avoid this sort of commotion. An event will only encourage delegates to become company advocates and become further engaged in your brand. Sounds a bit clingy, better to keep them at an arm’s length.

People will be at risk of having fun

Keep morale at a consistent level by avoiding a yearly award show for employees or customers – winners are likely to have an unhealthy ‘spike’ in motivation and encourage others to aim to win in future years.

Make sure to put a stop to any staff conferences or seminars. Beautiful and alternate locations encourage inspirational and out-of-the-box thinking, no point causing an unnecessary distraction. Employees can meet colleagues in the break room and learn about innovations in their own time – engaging in refresher training is unnecessary.

Removing teams from the comfort of the office will encourage ‘over relaxation’ and cohesive working – consider the operational complexities of this before instigating, you will risk attracting new staff and regrettably retaining qualified staff for years and years.

Focus will be removed from your core business

Events require focus and expertise – you’re too busy being an expert in your own industry. Working with a national award winning event agency will just highlight a lot of hard work required to make your event a success. You’ll be forced to work with another team of experts, learn things you didn’t know, extend the reach of your expertise and showcase your skill. We get it, you were happy just cracking on, no point shouting about it – the day to day won’t do itself.

Be an event avoider – avoid the ocean of event opportunity, it is vast, deep and full of risk – best to stay safe, grounded and risk-free.